HARARE – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has issued a stern warning to corrupt officials in government owned institutions who are stifling the country`s efforts to turn around the economy.
Corruption in Zimbabwe has become endemic within its political, private and civil sectors. The country ranks joint 163rd out of 176 countries in the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking it alongside Equatorial Guinea.
Speaking at the official opening of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress in Victoria Falls today, Mnangagwa said the government has come with a national code of corporate governance which must instill a positive value system which is characterised by integrity, honesty and hard work, as part of efforts to tackle the scourge, which has become a cancerous drawback in economic growth.
Economic growth and the restoration of monetary stability have staved off complete collapse in Zimbabwe, but rampant corruption and government mismanagement have turned a once-diversified economy with well-developed infrastructure and an advanced financial sector into one of Africa’s poorest and most repressed. The lack of property rights, reflected most vividly in a land redistribution program that gutted the agricultural sector, has suppressed entrepreneurial activity.
“As you rightly noted in last year`s resolutions, corruption is a scourge that increases the cost of doing business thereby affecting our competitiveness and business viability. In this regard, I would like to point out that the fight against this abhorrent incubus must be adequately broad based and within the framework of a national call to all Zimbabweans and all sectors to fight the scourge. For those who have already committed the crime, let me assure you that we are on our way,” Mnangagwa said.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mike Bimha said as part of economic revival, the government has set up two committees , with one looking into the challenges to do with importation of goods, while the other is looking at the ease of doing business.
“The two make committees make recommendations that seek to stimulate economic turnaround,” he said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) President, Mr Davison Norupiri said the financial sector is the most critical component which should be given first priority to facilitate the movement of money to where it is needed at competitive rates so that the industry can access working capital for a successful economic turnaround.
The government has reviewed the implementation of the second 100 day ease of doing business reforms, to restore confidence among foreign investors, industry and commerce as well as other stakeholders to stimulate economic revival.
The Zimbabwean Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was established after the passing of the Anti-Corruption Commission Bill in June 2004. The Commission is a signatory to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol as well as the African Union (AU) and United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption. However, according to a 2009 report by Global Integrity, the Commission is highly inefficient and “has very little authority to take steps aimed at stopping corruption in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has suffered a downward spiral of increasingly erratic and often predatory governance since independence in 1980. In March 2013, voters approved a new constitution to roll back presidential power, but in July, President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front was reelected to his seventh five-year term since the consolidation of his personal power in 1987.
Corruption, including at the highest levels of government, has been endemic since 2000 and has led to a collapse in public-service delivery. The 2014 “Salarygate” scandal exposed top government officials receiving salaries of $200,000 or more a month while their agencies had huge unpaid bills or deficits. The government has repeatedly violated property rights, and its chaotic and violent land reform program has badly damaged commercial farming.